Summary: This sermon gives a correct view of John Wesley's doctrine of entire sanctification, and teaches us how to be holy.
Wesleyan Doctrine of Entire Sanctification
by Sidney Yuan
Before I give the sermon, I like to make a confession. I am not an Arminian. However, I don’t consider myself to be a Calvinist either. I think I am a Calminian. Calvinists have a tendency to stress the sovereignty of God more than the responsibility of man. Arminians, on the other hand tend to stress the responsibility of man more than the sovereignty of God. As you could probably tell from my sermons that I stress both the sovereignty of God and responsibility of man. Whether it is Arminian or Calvinism, I don’t believe in being extreme. For example, the extreme of God’s sovereignty leads to the Hyper-Calvinism of Double-Predestination, saying that God predestined some to go to heaven and others to hell. On the other hand, the extreme on man’s will leads to Pelagianism which says man can choose God without any divine help. Either extreme is unbiblical. The topic of today’s sermon is on Wesley’s Doctrine of Entire Sanctification. I see the sovereignty of God and responsibility of man equally important in the sanctification process.
What is Sanctification?
This is not a chart of the Dow Jones Industry Average. This is better than the Dow Jones Index. It depicts three important stages in a Christian’s life. When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, we are justified by God. We put our sins on Christ, who bore our sin on the cross, and Christ puts His righteousness on us. This is so-called the imputed righteousness of Christ. What a deal it is! See, I told you this is better than the Dow Jones Industry average. When a person is justified, he is no longer under the “penalty of sin”. His sins are paid for, by the blood of Christ. The second stage is the Sanctification Process. If we are truly saved, we should have spiritual growth to go along with our faith. Since Christ had broken the bondage of sin, we are no longer under the power or dominion of sin, although we are still under the presence and temptation of sin. We continue to grow until the day we die. When we die physically, we are finally no longer under the “presence of sin”. We are glorified and our spirit will be with God. If Christ would return before we die, then we will escape the physical death.
Thus the sanctification process is the time between justification and glorification. It is the time between we are saved to when we die or when Christ comes back. We are supposed to grow spiritually and be sanctified. To be sanctified also means to be purified, to be cleansed, or to be made holy. Remember that special word holy?
What is Holiness?
The Hebrew word for Holiness is “qadosh” (kadosh) or the Greek word “hagios” (Ha-ge-os) both mean to be separated, set apart for God. It is sacred and holy. I learned from another pastor that an excellent illustration of holiness is to bring a cleaver, a chopping board and a piece of meat to the pulpit, set the chopping board on the pulpit and chop the meat into two pieces right before the congregation, setting apart one piece of the meat to be holy. I did not do it because dread the thought of carrying my laptop, a chopping board, a knife and a piece of meat up to the pulpit. I worried that I would either drop the laptop on the floor or the cleaver on my foot. Either way will be very memorable but painful, so I finally gave up the idea.
In the Old Testament, God wanted the Israelites to be holy and separated. He gave them special laws to observe and special diet to keep, to separate them from their neighbors.
Why Do we Need to be Holy?
For those who are set apart for God, He calls us to a high standard of living
• Leviticus 19:2- God told Moses to “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
• Matthew 5:48- Jesus said “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. “ (here we see a equation of holiness to perfection)
• 1 Peter 1:15-16- “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Here we see that we are asked to be holy in all things that we do.
• Hebrews 12:14- the author says “make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy / without holiness no one will see the Lord. “
The author of the book of Hebrews reminds us that no one can see God, unless we are holy.